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Girls more excited about sport than boys

Girls more excited about sport than boys

In marginalised communities in India, girls are more keen to play sports than boys, because this is something they aren’t traditionally allowed to do, as highlighted during several sessions on day three of Next Step 2014.

Franz Gastler, the US national who started the Yuwa programme in Jharkhand, India, pointed out in a session on grassroots football and development at the Next Step 2014 conference that, in the communities he works, girls are more enthusiastic about playing sports than boys are. In an earlier talk, Gastler had said: “We asked boys what they needed to play. Their response was ‘jerseys, socks, shoes, football, etc. – all the gear’. When we asked girls the same question, they said they only needed a football and a coach.” 

At a session on ‘Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Sports’ at Next Step 2014, Biren Bhuta, chief of CSR at Tata Steel, pointed out that even in their sports programmes at the grassroots level, they have found that girls are more excited than boys about participating in sports such as archery and football.

Traditionally, in India, girls are not allowed to play sports. So they jump at the opportunity to do something they are otherwise forbidden to do, as Sneh Gupta, president of Indiability India highlighted. “Not just kabaddi and kho-kho. Given the chance, they want to play sports such as football, which are considered boys’ games.

Ever since they’re children, girls are told to play with dolls and little toy kitchen sets while their brothers go out and play outdoor sports such as cricket, kabaddi and football. When they grow older, girls are assigned to their roles in the kitchen while their brothers are still outside the home, playing sports and participating in outdoor activities.

Women are the nucleus of society. It is important to target and include them,” said Dr Rajat Chauhan, Primary Catalyst, Back2Fitness, at a session on tackling non-communicable diseases using sport and physical activity. So when a teenage girl is given a ball and taught how to kick, she’s suddenly empowered. Now she can do what her brother can – what any other boy her age can do. This girl will grow up more confident and with the ability to make the choice to move out of poverty. These women are then more likely to drive the change in their communities. 


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Geetanjali Jhala


Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 23:00